Forest School is where my heart lies and during the Easter holidays I had the pleasure of spending the day at Earthlings in Guildford, Surrey. Charlotte, the founder and director of Earthlings trained with the wonderful Patrick Harrison (Greenbow Training) at the same time as I, so upon hearing Charlotte had set up her own Forest School business I had to visit!
Forest School is an ethos and can be interpreted in many ways, so no forest school will be exactly the same. When Charlotte and I trained together I remember her brining her ukulele so I knew I was in for a creative and musical day of forest school, and I wasn't wrong! As I arrived, Charlotte was there with a big smile greeting the children and their parents in the car park, we made our short walk across the field and to the Earthling's forest school base. I was introduced to the rest of the enthusiastic team and promptly given an Earthlings jumper to wear for the day (now I really felt the part!).
Charlotte and I are similar in that we both have a creative twist when it comes to Forest School and love to capture children's imaginations. Charlotte and her team create wonderful activities for their children to be involved in, as well as providing an exciting outdoor area for them to explore and discover in. The physical boundaries are set for the children so they know where they can explore up to, before needing a teacher to go any further. The site has a very homely feel, Charlotte and her staff personalise everything they do, so the 'Earthling's touch' is everywhere to be seen!
At Earthling's each session is different, offering the children the opportunity to explore the woodlands on nature walks, find new dens and areas to discover, challenge themselves and their abilities through physical play and creative activities, and not to mention hours of play in their wonderful natural mud kitchen!
Not only did the children have these wonderful activities planned, they also used clay for face painting, played woodland games, learnt about fire lighting, toasted their own marshmallows, learnt about the plants around them, sung songs and even went on an spring fairy treasure hunt! An action packed day full of play, discovery, learning and most importantly, happiness.
What I loved most about my day was the fact that the children were not categorised by their age like so many groups, classes and clubs but they all moulded together as one team. The children were not phased by age differences or abilities, they simply helped each other and guided each other, and it worked so well. Forest School is about personal discoveries and development and caters for everyone at one time, which makes it such a wonderful and unique environment for young children to learn in.
Being outdoors provides children with a calm environment in which they can learn, play and build their confidences. Earthling's is truly unique and a wonderful environment for children to flourish in, if you are considering Forest School I would whole heartedly say to jump right in because it is a decision you will not regret!
I am certainly looking forward to more adventures with Earthlings!
For more information, head to the Earthlings website! www.earthlingsforestschool.co.uk